Sabrina the Teenage Witch as a role model....
This is a rant that has been brewing for some time. I am a Pagan. I know this is probably going to have my mailbox flooded with Christians wanting to save my soul, and all I have to say to them is, tried it and didn't like it. I personally feel that Christianity was cold and placed dogma over spirituality and the Christians I met through the Church were on the whole hypocritical and bigoted. Sure there were some really nice genuine people, and I am sure that they gained a lot of comfort from their chosen path, but the vast majority of the church goers I met were determined to evangelise at every given opportunity (even at totally inappropriate times) and all seemed to forget two of the most basic doctrines that they preached about, being a) forgiveness of sins and b) love the sinner not the sin. Possibly I was just at the wrong church, but the experience left a bad taste and a view that if that is Christianity you can keep it.
However, this is not the subject of the rant. I am subscribed to a number of Pagan/Wicca mailing lists, and these are increasingly being inhabited by teens whose idea of the "Old Ways" is shaped by television programmes like "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and "Sabrina the Teenage Witch". They want the knowledge of spellcraft without taking any responsibility for their actions. They insist that spells are the be all and end all and have no concept of the deeper meanings, of the gentle cycles of nature, of the shifting seasons and the changing phases of the moon, of the use of herbs and oils and colour to help people attain those things that are best for them, that hardship and illness are often messengers telling us that we are doing something wrong, and that we need to change aspects of our lives. They also seem to have this idea that they can do whatever they want to gratify their latest urge.
A case in point, somebody posts a request to a list for a spell to cause a person to gain weight. When a few people point out that there is a moral issue and this is an inappropriate type of spell, like the petulant child she is, she has a rant that she is being attacked and that she has the right to do whatever she wants. She is of course TOTALLY justified in her actions. At this point I have my two cents. I explain about the cycle of retribution (you hit me so I will hit you harder etc), I explain about perception and how two people can describe an event where they stood side by side to someone who wasn't there in such a way that the third person thinks they have been told about two separate events. I explain that the truth depends on your viewpoint and that there is no such thing as absolute truth. And what did I get? Two simultaneous emails, one to the list and one sent privately. The list mail was a personal attack, which coming from someone with the mentality of a 5 year old, I expected. The private one was conciliatory, how I misunderstood her because she probably said something in the wrong way, and that she could tell I was an elder and that I was very knowledgeable and that she would like to learn from me. In the spirit of reconciliation I responded to the private message, and acknowledged that she had a right to practice however she felt, but to ask herself how she would feel if the weight gain she wanted to impose caused her victim to become so depressed as to commit suicide (or even try to). I asked how she would feel if because of this weight gain her victim had a heart attack or stroke and died. I asked her to think carefully about what she was intending to do and to please not do it. I got a reply from her and this time the teddy was really being thrown out of the pram. Apparently I am a bitter, twisted, nosy, know-it-all who needs to grow up.
Well if being that gives me a conscience and a modicum of common sense then I suppose she was really complimenting me.